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The Blog

Planning My Successor Dog

As previous blog posts have indicated I’m personally at a cross roads where my assistance dog is approaching retirement age. I had planned last year to begin training up my successor dog so there would be a smooth transition from working  Nikolai to having a mature fully trained dog to take over. It seemed like the right thing to do in

Washing Out Your Assistance Dog

“Washing out” is the industry term for a dog that has for reasons other than age, failed as an assistance dog. Statistically whenever you’re training an assistance dog there is a chance that the dog will wash out even later once they are fully trained, wash out can still occur, though the chances are significantly less if they have made it

Should an assistance dog ALWAYS be with its handler?

Some people have the idea that assistance dogs are always working and must always be with their handlers. This raises the question of “Where is your assistance dog today?” if a handler goes out without them. It’s a deeply personal decision if and when an assistance dog is used. There are some very valid reasons that a handler may choose to

Etiquette tips for interacting with people using Assistance Dogs

Seeing assistance dogs out about in the community is becoming more common, over the last decade the assistance dog community has grown exponentially. People are becoming more aware of all the amazing ways assistance dogs can help people with all sorts of disabilities. It is no longer just the yellow lab guiding someone with a vision impairment.

What is blocking and why is it useful?

Today we are going to talk about the task “Block”. Blocking is when the dog is positioned to provide a physical barrier between the handler and most often, other people. This physical buffer and the additional space the dog provides allows handlers to have reduced hypervigilance and anxiety. The dog doesn’t do anything but hold position.

Retiring Your Assistance Dog Part 1.

This blog post is going to read more like a diary entry then my usual posts tend to. This is a journey of BIG emotions and I’m sharing them because while I don’t have all the answers right now, in the future this experience is going to serve me to help my clients when they are ready to go through this experience too. I’m sure when it is all

Buying a puppy or selecting a rescue

For full disclosure my personal preference is to only buy from registered, ethical, heritage breeders, however many of these considerations are still relevant should you choose to rescue a dog from an ethical rescue group.  Choosing a pure breed gives you the gift of predictability, all pure breeds breed true and over all share the same

Choosing the right dog

I often get asked “What kind of dog should I get?” or I will see this posted on social media groups and every answer is “I have an XXX, they are the best!” These people are not wrong, their dog might be the perfect choice for their family, but there are literally hundreds of breeds out there to choose from, and if we factor cross breeds in

The benefits of owner training - The Bond

Today brought me a lovely reminder about why I choose to work with owner trainers rather then place pretrained assistance dogs. While I do agree there is a time and a place that a pre-trained assistance dog may be more appropriate, I firmly believe that the bond that develops between a handler and their assistance dog when owner training can not

Professional Dog Training is an investment in YOUR happiness.

As a dog trainer I have learned many people consider professional dog training a “luxury service” as opposed to an essential investment. I believe if you are brining a dog in to your life that investing in some professional advice as early in the process of adding the dog to your family, regardless of if it is a new 8-week-old puppy or